Gun range owners work together to prevent potential threats

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – If your sights are set on being a gun owner in Kansas, it’s not too difficult.

As long as you are of legal age, 18 to buy a shotgun or rifle, 21 to buy a handgun, and pass a background check you can legally buy one.

But in many stores, you’ll also have to pass the eye test.

“We really don’t want to have a gun going into somebody’s hands where that person or somebody else might get hurt.”

Mike Relihan knows a thing or two about guns, a veteran of the business for eight years.

“We absolutely have the discretion to not to sell something to somebody,” says Relihan,

He says his team used that discretion when the man charged with killing a Wichita doctor, Umar Butt, came into his doors, trying to buy a firearm.

“We knew what he was trying to buy which was very, very inexpensive,” says Relihan.

Gun range owners run into situations that give them pause.

Someone, acting nervously, wants a gun and may not even care what kind it is. In that case, he says they’ll deny the sale, post that person’s information for employees to see in the store, and then pass the information along to other ranges.

After Dutt came in, he says they called Thunderbird Firearms Academy, and Store Manager Brandon Light took the call.

“They denied them the sale and they wanted us to know what was going on,” says Relihan.

Light says he immediately posts that information for other employees to see in his store.

He says he personally called three other stores right after that.

“We pass the word all around town. Word gets out pretty quick,” says Light.

They train to make sure they are looking for all the signs of someone who might be unstable, and could be a danger to themselves or the community.

“If we really felt that that person was a danger to themselves or others and we had their driver’s license information from the background check form, we probably would have called law enforcement for them to check that person’s welfare,” says Light.

When it comes to denying someone from buying a firearm, a gun store owner has that right.

Even if a person’s background check comes back clean, a sale can be denied.

That’s because as private business owners, they have the final decision on who they do business with.

The ATF says that licensed gun dealers can use discretion for who they sell firearms to.

Legally, they can refuse the sale of a gun, and they don’t have to give a reason as long it doesn’t violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, meaning it’s not because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.


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